Government has paid almost R70 million to families of Marikana victims

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The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development’s Solicitor-General, Fhedzisani Phandelani, says most of the Marikana litigation cases have been settled and payment has been made to claimants.

Phandelani says the state has already paid in the region of R70-million to 35 families, through the Wits Law Clinic that represented the families of the victims.

Thirty-four mineworkers were killed when police opened fire on the striking workers at the Wonderkop Koppie in Marikana nine years ago.

According to Phandelani, some compensation has been paid to the families of the slain miners.

“If you were to evoke the once and for all rule you would actually accept that we paid just under R70-million on behalf of the 35 families. But it’s not so because SERI came back to us with damage claims which is something that is not easy to quantify. But we as the state we needed to approach these matters with some degree of humility.”

Phandelani says the only outstanding matter relates to the more than 200 injured miners and members of the public whom the Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI) represents.

He says the matter has been referred back to the court after the claimants rejected the state’s offer of R500 000 per claimant.

 Video: Compensation for the affected families and individuals remains pending:

Nomzamo Zondo from the Socio-Economic Rights Institute, says the state is not handling the matter in good faith. The institution is representing the injured mineworkers as well as scores of members of the general public who are suing the state for the damages and injuries they incurred on the day of what has become known as the “Marikana Massacre”.

“It means what the state has done in nine years they only paid what the labour of those miners would have earned had they lived. And now we have to fight them in saying what are you coming with to families? We acknowledge the wrongdoing and the trauma that we caused in your lives. But they said to us they are not going to go beyond R500 000  per person because the state is not a bottomless pit, but we didn’t need a bottomless pit because our families would have been supporting us.”

The Farlam Commission, which probed the cause and the aftermath of the August 2012 Marikana Massacre, recommended that families of the deceased miners be compensated and that the mine pay the bill for their children’s educational needs.